This reminds me of the age old question asked to someone much, much younger:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Worded of course a bit differently, this type of question could be very productive in the hiring interview.
You’ve got Alice in front of you and it could go like this:
“Alice, what can you tell me about what we do here?”
Alice has done her homework and she gives a good report.
“That’s great, Alice. We appreciate people gaining a familiarity with us before they come to interview. And, as you know, the position that’s open at this time is Billings and Collections. How do you feel about this position?”
Alice asks for some clarification.
“Well, is the Billings and Collections position something you have a great deal of affinity for?”
“Oh I understand the question now. Well, yes, I am trained for the position and I’ve held it successfully for six years.”
“Yes, Alice, that sounds great. But is it a position that you desire to hold for many more years to come?”
Alice doesn’t answer right away.
“Let me ask it another way. If you could hold any position here that you wanted, what would that be? If there were no considerations about training or even compensation, what would you want to be here?”
Alice thinks that over and finally says:
“Well, I’ve always wanted to be an Office Manager.”
And there you go. You found out what Alice would really like to be.
What does that mean to you right now, when the only open position is Billings and Collections?
Well, it gives you an idea of who just might be a good Office Manager candidate down the road. Especially if Alice does a very good job with the Billings and Collections position.
What someone wants to BE is no small matter. People will spend considerable personal energy to overcome a variety of challenges to achieve along this line.
You could even go so far as to ask Alice what position would she like to hold inside or outside of your company. You may not have such a position in your company, but it may be something Alice really aspires to.
What would you like to be?
A most interesting question to ask.
Be prepared for new and different insights into your candidates.
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